Lawsuit filed against Union County Public Schools, Board of Educ - myfoxcarolinas.com

Lawsuit filed against Union County Public Schools, Board of Education

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A lawsuit was filed today against Union County Public Schools and the Board of Education in an effort to stop a redistricting push that would shift thousands of students to different campuses.

"Parents feel like they've been manhandled to a very large extent," Union County resident and attorney Joe Bochicchio said. "Haven't been paid attention in the process and that's not how process is supposed to work."

Parents and students affected by the redistricting push say they feel as if there has been no transparency when the board spent the last several months discussing the redistricting plan.

Public hearings and comment sessions were held, but the response from most parents was that it was not a conversation. They feel as if they were only given permission to speak to carry out a formality, and that members of the board of education had already made up their minds on the issue.

"The very quick version is the parents were ignored, the process was ignored," Bochicchio said. "The school's website itself says they'll involve internal and external stakeholders. Well, they involved internal stakeholders but they kind of forgot the second part of that rule."

My Fox Carolinas spoke with BOE Chair Richard Yercheck this evening. He is aware of the filing but says he has not been presented with anything from his attorneys.

"The parents are well within their rights to pursue this step and we'll hope to go through this process as speedily as we can because we need to be taking care of 42,000 kids and 200,000-plus taxpayers," Yercheck said. "That's what we're trying to do."

Fifteen plaintiffs are on the lawsuit. The lawsuit says the BOE "knowingly and intentionally failed to provide requested documents and no accurate information related to the school redistricting plan to the public."

The lawsuit also says that the BOE was in violation of The Open Meetings Act and reached a "secret and coordinated agreement to the school redistricting act behind closed doors."

The lawsuit also says that the BOE "excluded certain elected BOE Members who have been openly opposed to the school redistricting plan, intentionally misleading the public through conflicting statements, and issuing an official "Agenda," which did not indicate that a vote was to be taken (in fact quite the opposite).

The group filing the lawsuit is called Citizens for Adequate Public Schools, or C.A.P.S. and additional information on them can be found here.
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